Exaggeration aside, cell matches are measured by the memorable things that happen inside (and outside) the chain link walls. There is a promise of life-altering mayhem, of unfiltered hatred being acted out with zero restrictions in play. Hell in a Cell is all about living up to the Hellish part of the title, to conjure up something, anything, that will make you believe that what you saw was the best kind of horror show.
A big part of the horrific heritage are the bumps - the stuntman dives and falls that risk safety, even lives. Listed ahead are the 10 absolute craziest bumps ever endured by the participants in Hell in a Cell match, with some being a little more dire than others.
10. Shield In Stereo (2014)
Ever get a "meets expectations" on your report card or workplace performance review? That sort of grade applies to the fall that Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins took from the side of the Cell. It wasn't the deadliest of dives, instead feeling like an attempt to meet the bare minimum requirements for a match taking place in the confines of the Cell.
That's not to undercut the dual bump - it was still a risky fall, as both Ambrose and Rollins teetered above the announce tables from midway up the cell's wall, knocking each other off with table-breaking plummets. Compared to some of the outright insanity that's still to come, you couldn't put this any higher than 10. And given that Ambrose has plenty of deathmatches on his resume, this fall may be a bit down his personal list.
9. A Real Showstopper (1997)
This just goes to show how much the ante can be upped over time, how moments considered mind-blowing in the past can get trampled on by the toppers of tomorrow. When Shawn Michaels took a monumental ass-whipping at the hands of Undertaker at Badd Blood 1997, in the first cell match ever, it was an eye-opener for WWE fans that weren't used to this sort of imagery.
Case in point: Undertaker knocking Michaels off the side of the cell, through the ringside table. Tables had been broken in WWE over the previous couple of years, but never before from this height. Ensuing bumps like the infamous Foley dive would render Michaels' free-fall pedestrian, but in and of itself, it's not a comfy landing by any means.
8. Stiff As A Board (2015)
The Brock Lesnar/Undertaker fight from the 2015 Hell in a Cell PPV had a decidedly King of the Monsters feel to it - akin to two beasts destroying a city in their wake as opposed to a tightly-choreographed exchange of moves. Blood was spilled, bystanders were flung, and the scenery was torn to shreds. The latter point played a part in the brutal finish.
The canvas was ripped open and a section of foam removed, exposing the wooden beams that are part of the ring's construct. Lesnar survived a Tombstone onto the timber, but Undertaker would not be so lucky - he endured a spine-rattling F5 onto the planks, which would be enough to keep him down for the three. It was a different sort of brutal, but brutal nonetheless.
7. Tear Down This Wall (2008)
Hey, a Hell in a Cell bump that inspired a future OMG! spot on WWE video games. The Edge/Undertaker encounter from the 2008 SummerSlam had to be bloodless, due to the new PG guidelines that went into effect a month earlier. There were less restrictions on eye-catching stunts and the like, so the two tailored their match around creative destruction.
And the fans got a suitable substitution for icky gore with a different sort of gore - Edge speared The Undertaker through one of the chain link sections of the wall, taking the wiring right out of its framework. It was definitely one way to escape the cage without using the door, and it livened up what was an excellent match that ultimately settled a long feud.
6. Malice On Chains (2002)
Ahh, the *other* cell match from 2002. Lesnar vs. Undertaker gets a lot of love for its sheer brutality, but Triple H and Chris Jericho delivered with a pretty wild brawl of their own at Judgment Day. Most notably, and infamously, referee Tim White screwed his shoulder up taking a bump into the cage wall that would unfortunately end his career.
The finish would see Helmsley and Jericho end up on top of the Cell, where earlier that day, Y2J nixed a Foley-style bump from the roof to the floor below. Instead, they would end the battle by having Helmsley Pedigree Jericho on the chain-link partition, with Jericho not-so-silently praying that the structure wouldn't give way on impact. The bump looked painful enough, but one imagines how much worse it would've been had Jericho plummeted an extra 14 feet.
5. Tacks'd Beyond Belief (1998)
The Attitude Era was good for one thing, and that was defying expectations. Every time you tuned in, something crazier, riskier, and wilder was happening on WWE programming, and this was a company that marketed sugary pap to children just two years earlier. Juxtapose those New Generation days to Mankind bringing a bag of thumbtacks into the infamous cell match with Undertaker, and you're talking a continental divide.
Foley sprinkled the tacks across the canvas before dumping thousands of them out of the bag. But it wouldn't be Undertaker getting hundreds of painful pricks: it was Foley, first from a piggyback sandwich, and then a high-velocity chokeslam. In a morbidly humorous note, after the match, a groggy, concussed Foley asked Taker if they used tacks in the match, to which Undertaker replied: "Mick, look at your damn arm!" Sure enough, Foley's limb looked like an office bulletin board.
4. Back That Truck Up (2000)
The Armageddon six-way deserves a little more love for its widespread chaos, and fun mixing and matching of Attitude Era stalwarts. Oh, and for the giant hay-filled truck that was conveniently backed up to the cage at Vince McMahon's behest, since he (for some reason) wanted to rid the arena of the Cell, and planned to, uh, use the truck to get it out of there. Okay then.
Surprise: the truck would play a part in a later spot, as Undertaker and Rikishi fought to the top of the cage, with bad intentions explicitly spelled out. They weren't going to top Foley's date with fate, but this would be an acceptable stunt on its own merits. Imagine a 400-pound man (in a thong) falling backward off of a 16-foot high structure, onto the hay-filled bed of a truck. I'm sure it wasn't all that fun.
3. Shane O'Splat (2016)
Yes, there was an air mattress the size of New Zealand under the announce table. Does it dilute what was a pretty crazy stuntman bump from Shane McMahon? You can call it as you see it, but in my eyes, free-falling from two stories up, air mattress or not, is enough to make your intestines clench like coils.
The Hell in a Cell match between Shane and The Undertaker may have had a confusing storyline, and the body of the match may have been fairly tedious before the big moment, but one bump was enough to occupy space in our memory banks. McMahon would repeat the spot with Kevin Owens 17 months later, as you have to ask yourself just how many risks you'd take if you were a millionaire pushing 50.
2. Going Down In Flames (2000)
Is it a hardcore spoiler if I told you that the top two spots belong to wrestling's foremost best-selling author? Mick Foley may be more synonymous with Hell in a Cell than the individuals who've actually won their matches in the structure, and it's because of his sacrifices. Case in point: what was to be his fade-to-black 18 years ago.
Foley had to try and top previous insanity in the match's pièce de résistance, and in fairness, he about equalled it. The sight of a flammable Foley hurtling through the cell's roof like a bearded cannonball, putting a hole in the ring, would have been the best segue into the epilogue imaginable. But he came back, for better and for worse. WrestleMania 22 finish aside, nothing he did since even sniffed this fall.
1. Double Shot Of Death (1998)
Putting one over the other is rather difficult, and it's probably for the best that the two be combined into one mega-entry, since the falls happened just minutes apart. Mankind vs. The Undertaker rates among the most famous wrestling matches of all time and, as noted before, turned Foley into a bigger star in defeat than he may have been in victory.
You've seen the video: Undertaker flings Foley ass over leather mask through the Spanish Announce Table in a planned spot, and everybody goes berserk. Then Foley climbs off the gurney, wills himself back to the top of the cage, only to be chokeslammed through a roof panel that wasn't supposed to give way. When Jerry Lawler muttered, "That's it, he's dead," he wasn't being facetious. Foley narrowly avoided death on the unplanned fall, and wouldn't be "right" for the rest of the match. Twenty years later, the sights are still unbelievable.